Matthew McConaughey and Leto have had a whirlwind week after both winning the Academy Awards. The stars of The Dallas Buyers Club have received a slew of awards for portraying men stricken by AIDS. They not only transformed themselves physically, they became the characters, their performances where so pure that there are moments in the film that feel more like a documentary than a film, that being the power that led these two actors to win the Academy Award.
McConaughey and Leto had each already won the Golden Globe and the Screen Actors Guild Award for best actor and best supporting actor, making them two frontrunners for the Academy Awards. McConaughey’s weight loss of 47 pounds was just the beginning of his transformation into Ron Woodroof, an HIV positive electrician and hustler who is given 30 days to live. Unable to come to terms with the diagnosis, and not qualifying for the pharmaceuticals HIV test trials of AZT, Woodroof pays off a hospital employee to smuggle them, he then begins taking the medication in large quantities. Once he realizes the AZT was not helping, he begins to research alternative medicine. He meets a doctor in Mexico who starts him on a set list of medications unavailable in the United States. Upon his betterment he decides to smuggle them into the States in order to help other HIV positive individuals, he then called the operation The Dallas Buyers Club. Due to the high demand of his medical cocktail, the operation becomes global. Rayon, portrayed by Leto is the transgendered HIV positive woman that Woodroof meets at the hospital. Rayon helps him gain clients into The Dallas Buyers Club. McConaughey tells Flaunt that this is the first time in his career that he has lost money. For the role, McConaughey took four months off in order to prepare. During that time he restricted his diet to small amounts of protein and vegetables, he met with Woodroof’s family and read his diaries. In the week after his win, McConaughey has expressed in interviews his desire to continue making films he is passionate about, films he would like to see.
The two Academy Awards winners portrayed their characters with a realism that can only be achieved through a physical and mental transformation. Jared Leto who beautifully portrayed the character of Rayon took the physical transformation by losing 30 pounds and waxing his entire body. He then worked on changing his voice, and manner of speaking. And lastly he focused on costuming. Leto has stated that he met with transgender individuals prior to shooting the film in order to understand the daily struggles they face. He has also stated that he ventured out into the public while in costume; he wanted to feel for himself how others would view him. What he discovered was disheartening, the stares, animosity, and discomfort people experienced from his presence helped him embody Rayon. He did not want to portray Rayon as another flamboyant transgendered woman; he wanted to portray Rayon as a man who wanted to live like a woman. Jared was so deeply enthralled in Rayon that he describes her to Flaunt as a real person, he describes her as a beautiful empathetic dreamer, a one of a kind.
These one of a kind performances that made these two actors Academy Award winners, there is no doubt that this film will create a major shift in Hollywood’s view of independent filmmaking. They both gave moving speeches, McConaughey referencing his father in heaven and Leto expressing love towards his mother who showed him to dream. McConaughey plans to make another baby, and has shifted his focus into reading scripts that he is passionate about. Leto’s week after has been filled with cheeky fun, permitting fans, talk show hosts, and friends enjoy his Oscar just as much as he has by permitting them to take photos, selfies, and behave promiscuously towards his Oscar. He plans to hit the stage with his band 30 Seconds to Mars later on this year; he will be sharing the spotlight with the bands AFI and Linkin Park.
Opinion by Dony Lugo